Maryland lawmakers are poised to vote on whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, a move that could save the state money and reduce the number of people who die of cancer.
The House of Delegates on Thursday will vote to approve a bill that would allow patients with certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, Crohn-Herpes-Type 1, Crophosis and multiple sclerosis, to legally grow up to six plants of marijuana for personal use.
The measure, which could face a veto by Gov.
Larry Hogan, has bipartisan support in the General Assembly.
The legislation was introduced by Republican Representative Bill Lacy Clay and Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott.
The House voted 39-14 on Thursday to send it to the Senate, where lawmakers will have to decide whether to override a veto from Hogan.
The bill would allow anyone 21 and older to possess up to a half ounce of marijuana.
It would also allow anyone to grow up-to-eight plants at home for personal consumption.
It would be the first time Maryland has allowed medical marijuana use, and would be among the first states to approve the drug.
The Drug Enforcement Administration last year approved the first-ever retail marijuana sales in the state.
The General Assembly also approved a medical marijuana program for people with AIDS, which is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2020.
The bill is set to go to Hogan for his signature.
The Maryland Medical Society opposes any medical marijuana legislation that would infringe on the right of people with medical conditions to safely access marijuana for their medical purposes.
We urge Maryland legislators to protect the patient and their rights in the face of the dangerous, and possibly lethal, effects of the drug,” said Dr. David K. Strain, president of the Maryland Medical Association.
Hogan spokesman Chris Miller told the Associated Press that the governor believes “medical marijuana is a safe and effective medicine for patients and caregivers and it’s up to the state to regulate the use of marijuana.”